White House Correspondents’ Dinner host and Daily Show star Hasan Minhaj delivered a blistering criticism of Donald Trump Saturday night at the Washington D.C. gala, attacking the president for not showing up to the annual event that celebrates free speech and a free press.
“We gotta address the elephant that’s not in the room: The leader of our country is not here,” Minhaj said. “And that’s because he lives in Moscow. It is a very long flight, it’d be hard for Vlad to make it. As for the other guy, I believe he’s in Pennsylvania because he can’t take a joke.”
During Minhaj’s speech, he touched on Trump’s first 100 days, from the president’s frequent Mar-A-Lago trips to the attempted Muslim ban, which put the Daily Show correspondent in a precarious position when it came to hosting the gala.
“We are in a very strange situation where there’s a very combative relationship between the press and the president, but now that you guys are minorities – just for this moment – you might understand the position I was in, and it’s the same position a lot of minority kids feel in this country,” Minhaj said.
“Do I come up here and just try to fit in and not ruffle any feathers? Or do I say what I really feel? Because this event is about celebrating the First Amendment and free speech. Free speech is the foundation of an open and liberal democracy. From college campuses to the White House.”
“Only in America can a first-generation Indian-American Muslim kid get on this stage and make fun of the president,” Minhaj added. “The orange man behind the Muslim ban. And it’s a sign to the rest of the world… even the president is not beyond the reach of the First Amendment. But the president didn’t show up, because Donald Trump doesn’t care about free speech.”
Minhaj concluded, “In four hours, Donald Trump will be tweeting about how bad Nicki Minaj bombed at this dinner.”
Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein also tore into Trump during a 20-minute speech: